Ming-Na Wen

Ming-Na Wen (Chinese: 溫明娜; born November 20, 1963)[1] is a Chinese-American actress and model. Wen is best known for her starring role as Fa Mulan in the animated musical action films Mulan (1998) and Mulan II (2004), and as Melinda May in the ABC superhero drama series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013–2020). She reprised the role of Mulan in the video game Kingdom Hearts II (2005), the animated children's series Sofia the First (2014), and the animated comedy film Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018).[2] Additionally, Wen made a cameo appearance in the live-action remake of Mulan (2020).

Ming-Na Wen
Wen in 2018
Born (1963-11-20) November 20, 1963
Coloane, Portuguese Macau
Other namesMing-Na
Ming Na
Ming Na Wen
Ming Wen
EducationCarnegie Mellon University (BFA)
Occupation
  • Actress
  • model
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)
    Kirk Aanes
    (m. 1990; div. 1993)
      Eric Michael Zee
      (m. 1995)
      Children2
      Websitewww.ming-na.com
      Ming-Na Wen
      Traditional Chinese溫明娜
      Simplified Chinese温明娜

      Wen is well known for her role as Dr. Jing-Mei "Deb" Chen in the medical drama series ER (1995–2004). She starred as Rachel Lu in the medical drama series Inconceivable (2005), one of the few American television series with an Asian American series lead. She had starring roles as Detective Ellen Yin in the animated series The Batman (2004–2005), as Camile Wray in the science fiction series Stargate Universe (2009–2011), and as Fennec Shand in the Star Wars space western series The Mandalorian (2019–2020) and the animated series The Bad Batch (2021), as well as the upcoming series The Book of Boba Fett. Wen is also notable for starring in The Joy Luck Club (1993), Street Fighter (1994), Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), Prom Night (2008), and Push (2009).

      Early life

      Wen was born on November 20, 1963, in Coloane, one of the two main islands of Macau.[1] Her mother Lin Chan Wen moved to Macau in the mid-1960s, from Suzhou, China.[3] Her father is of Malaysian Chinese descent.[4] She has an older brother named Jonathan.

      Wen's parents divorced when she was an infant and she moved with her brother and mother to Hong Kong. Her mother remarried to Chinese American Soo Lim Yee, and the family moved to New York City when Wen was four years old. Her younger brother Leong was born there. After five years, Wen's mother and stepfather relocated again, to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area, where they opened The Chinatown Inn restaurant, which is still operating.[1] Raised in the suburb of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, she attended Mount Lebanon High School[5] and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1986 having majored in Theatre.[6]

      Career

      Wen's first television role was in the children's television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in 1985.[7] From 1988 to 1991, she played Lien Hughes, the daughter of Tom Hughes, on the soap opera As the World Turns.

      After starring in the acclaimed 1993 film The Joy Luck Club,[8] she landed the role of Dr. Jing-Mei "Deb" Chen on the NBC drama series ER.[1] She first starred in a recurring role during the 1994–1995 season before returning in 1999 as a series regular, remaining on the show until midway through Season 11 in 2004. Wen also played Chun-Li in Street Fighter[8] and co-starred on the sitcom The Single Guy from 1995 to 1997.[1]

      Wen in October 2006

      She provided the voice for the title character in the 1998 animated film Mulan, its direct-to-video sequel, Mulan II, and the video game Kingdom Hearts II, subsequently winning an Annie Award. She voiced Aki Ross in the computer animated film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,[9] and Detective Ellen Yin in the animated series The Batman.[9] She was also the voice actress for Jade, a minor character in the HBO animated series Spawn.[8]

      In 2004, she took part in a Hollywood Home Game on the World Poker Tour, and won.[10] In fall 2005, she starred on the NBC drama series Inconceivable as the lead character, Rachel Lu. However, the series was canceled after only two episodes. Her next TV role was an FBI agent in the Fox kidnap drama series Vanished, which premiered in the fall of 2006 then was canceled roughly three months later. She also played a small role as a college professor in the comedy series George Lopez.

      On October 8 through October 29, 2007, Wen (billed as Ming Wen) appeared in a four-episode arc of CBS's Two and a Half Men, playing Charlie Sheen's love interest, a judge closer to his own age.[11] In November 2008, she guest-starred on two ABC series: Private Practice and Boston Legal. From December 5–6, 2008, Wen starred in a benefit production of the musical Grease with "Stuttering" John Melendez at the Class Act Theatre.[12]

      She was cast as a regular in the Stargate Universe television series as political attaché Camile Wray from October 2009 to May 2011.[1] Wen made an appearance in Disney Through the Decades, a short documentary about the history of The Walt Disney Company through to the present, as the hostess of the 1990s section.

      Wen at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con

      Wen appeared on the Syfy series Eureka as the inquisitive U.S. Senator Michaela Wen,[13] beginning in season four in 2011 and serving as a major villain in the fifth and final season in 2012.[14]

      Wen starred as Agent Melinda May in the ABC superhero drama series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which premiered on September 24, 2013.[15]

      In August 2014, Wen reprised her role as Mulan for the first time since Kingdom Hearts II in the Disney Channel series Sofia the First.[9] Her daughter Michaela Zee has a recurring role on the show as Princess Jun.[16]

      On December 7, 2017, Marvel Entertainment launched a new animation film franchise Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors. Wen voiced Hala the Accuser, the main antagonist of the film, working with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-star Chloe Bennet.[17] That same year, she once again provided the voice of Mulan in Ralph Breaks the Internet.[9]

      Wen was named a Disney Legend at the 2019 D23 Expo for her outstanding contributions to the Disney company.[18][19] She was also announced to be a cast-member of the Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian, playing Fennec Shand. She reprises this role in Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and the upcoming series The Book of Boba Fett.

      Personal life

      In 1990, Wen married American film writer Kirk Aanes. They divorced three years later. On June 16, 1995, Wen married her current husband Eric Michael Zee,[1] and together they have two children, a daughter, Michaela Kitlin (born November 21, 2000), and a son, Cooper Dominic Zee (born October 12, 2005).

      Wen's first pregnancy was written into the E.R. script, with her character giving up the child for adoption. Michaela has followed her mother's footsteps in voice acting, and voices Princess Jun in the Disney Channel-animated series Sofia the First.[16]

      Wen is trilingual and fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.[10][20]

      Filmography

      Ming-Na at the January 2009 premiere for Push

      Film

      Year Title Role Notes
      1993 Rain Without Thunder "Uudie" Prisoner
      The Joy Luck Club Jing-Mei "June" Woo
      1994 Terminal Voyage Han
      Hong Kong 97 Katie Chun
      Street Fighter Chun-Li Zang
      1997 One Night Stand Mimi Carlyle
      1998 Mulan Fa Mulan (voice)
      12 Bucks Gorgeous
      2001 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Dr. Aki Ross (voice)
      2002 A Ribbon of Dreams Mei-Ling (voice)
      Teddy Bears' Picnic Katy Woo
      2005 Mulan II Fa Mulan (voice) Direct-to-video
      Perfection Woman Short film
      2008 Prom Night Dr. Elisha Crowe
      2009 Push Emily Wu
      2010 BoyBand Judy Roberts
      2012 Super Cyclone Dr. Jenna Sparks Direct-to-video
      2013 April Rain Hillary
      2016 The Darkness Wendy
      2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet Fa Mulan (voice)
      2019 Swimming Lilian Short film
      2020 Mulan Esteemed Guest Cameo[21]
      2020 Pearl Headmistress

      Television

      Year Title Role Notes
      1985 Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Royal Trumpeter 2 episodes
      1987 Another World Abby Episode: "#1.5950"
      1988–1991 As the World Turns Lien Hughes 42 episodes
      1993 Blind Spot Mitsuko Television film
      1994 All-American Girl Amy Episode: "Redesigning Women"
      Vanishing Son II Mai Television film
      Vanishing Son IV Television film
      1995, 2000–2004 ER Dr. Jing-Mei "Deb" Chen 118 episodes
      1995–1997 The Single Guy Trudy 43 episodes
      1997 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Lani (voice) Episode: "Puss in Boots"
      1998 Tempting Fate Ellen Moretti Television film
      1998–1999 Todd McFarlane's Spawn Jade / Lisa Wu (voice) 5 episodes
      2002 I Got You Kaila Unsold ABC pilot
      Disney's House of Mouse Fa Mulan (voice) Episode: "Salute to Sports"
      2004 The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Princess Guan Qi "Peggy" Tsu (voice) Episode: "The Great Egg Heist/The Feud"
      2004–2005 The Batman Detective Ellen Yin (voice) 16 episodes
      2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Li Mei Episode: "Debt"
      2005 Robot Chicken Mary-Kate Olsen (voice) Episode: "Kiddie Pool"
      Inconceivable Rachel Lu 9 episodes
      2006 George Lopez Professor Tracy Lim 2 episodes
      Vanished Lin Mei 13 episodes
      2007 American Masters Narrator (voice) Episode: "Novel Reflections: The American Dream"
      2007, 2010 Two and a Half Men Judge Linda Harris 5 episodes
      2008-2015 Phineas and Ferb Dr. Hirano (voice) 3 episodes
      Ginger Hirano (teenage voice) Episode : "Act Your Age"
      2008 Private Practice Kara Wei Episode: "Let It Go"
      Boston Legal Ming Wang Shu Episode: "Roe"
      2009 Ni Hao Kai-Lan Gu Nai Nai (voice) Episode: "Kai-lan's Trip to China"
      2009–2011 Stargate Universe Camile Wray 31 episodes
      2011–2012 Eureka Senator Michaela Wen 7 episodes
      2011 Celebrity Ghost Stories Herself Episode: "Keshia Knight Pulliam, Ming-Na, Chi McBride, Mia Tyler"
      2012 Adventure Time Farmworld Finn's Mom (voice) 2 episodes
      2013 Nashville Calista Reeves Episode: "You Win Again"
      2013–2020 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Melinda May Main cast; 134 episodes
      2014 Sofia the First Fa Mulan (voice) Episode: "Princesses to the Rescue"
      2017–2018 Milo Murphy's Law Savannah (voice) 7 episodes
      2017 Fresh Off the Boat Stephanie Episode: "The Flush"
      2017–2018 Sofia the First Vega (voice) 5 episodes
      2017 We Bare Bears Ranger Zhao (voice) Episode: "Ranger Games"
      2018 Guardians of the Galaxy Phyla the Accuser (voice) 4 episodes
      Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors Hala the Accuser (voice) Television short film
      2018–2019 Hot Streets Soo Park (voice) 6 episodes
      Fresh Off the Boat Elaine 2 episodes
      2019 Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron Hala the Accuser (voice) Television short film
      Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart Tanya Keys (voice) Episode: "Meet Tanya Keys"
      2019–2020 The Mandalorian Fennec Shand 4 episodes
      2020 Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Sandra 2 episodes
      2021 Star Wars: The Bad Batch Fennec Shand (voice)[22] 2 episodes
      Yasuke Natsumaru (voice)[23] Main cast
      The Book of Boba Fett Fennec Shand[24] Upcoming series

      Web series

      Year Title Role Notes
      2015 Parallel Man: Infinite Pursuit Major Mackenzie Cartwright (voice) Short film
      2016 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot Agent Melinda May 2 episodes
      2020 50 States of Fright Susan 3 episodes

      Video games

      Year Title Voice role Notes
      1995 Street Fighter: The Movie Chun-Li
      1999 Disney's Story Studio: Mulan Fa Mulan
      2005 Disney's Story Studio: Mulan II
      2006 Kingdom Hearts II
      2015 Disney Infinity 3.0
      2016 Lego Marvel's Avengers Agent Melinda May
      Disney Magic Kingdoms Fa Mulan

      Awards and nominations

      Year Award Category Work Result
      1998 Annie Award Outstanding Achievement in Voice Acting, Female Mulan Won
      1999 Online Film & Television Association Award Best Family Actress Won
      Best Voice-Over Performer Nominated
      2001 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series ER Nominated
      2014 People's Choice Award Favorite Actress in a New TV Series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nominated
      2015 TVLine's Performer of the Week Performance in "Melinda" Won
      2019 Disney Legend Film, Television, & Animation — Voice Herself Honoree
      2021 1st Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama[25] The Mandalorian Pending
      2022 Hollywood Walk of Fame[26] Television Herself Honoree

      References

      1. "Ming-Na: Actress (1963–)". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved October 17, 2017.
      2. "'Wreck-It Ralph 2' Bringing Back Original Disney Princess Voice Actresses". WWG.
      3. CMU grad Ming-Na Wen stands up for herself, on and off screen
      4. Wen, Ming-Na [@MingNa] (March 6, 2021). "Welcome to the @Disney family, Kelly! #warriorprincesses #southeastasiangals Yes, my biological father is Malaysian" (Tweet) via Twitter.
      5. Polke, Clarece (April 3, 2014). "Admired theater teacher retiring after 33 years at Mt. Lebanon". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on April 6, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
      6. Elkin, Michael (September 23, 2016). "CMU grad Ming-Na Wen stands up for herself, on and off screen". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on October 17, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
      7. "Ming-Na". TV.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
      8. Libuano, Patrick (October 21, 2016). "7 times Ming-Na Wen played a total badass". Kore Asian Media. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
      9. "Ming-Na Wen". Behind the Voice Actors. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
      10. Patrizio, Andy (October 27, 2004). "An Interview With Ming-Na". IGN. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
      11. Mchance (October 14, 2013). "'Agents of SHIELD' star Ming-Na Wen calls Charlie Sheen a good kisser". Screener TV. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
      12. "John Melendez and Ming Na to Star in Grease Benefit". Theater Mania. Theatermania.com. November 12, 2008. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
      13. Darren (August 19, 2010). "Ming-Na to guest star on Eureka". Gate World. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
      14. Wilkins, Alasdair (April 24, 2012). "Eureka finally does something genuinely shocking". io9. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
      15. "Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits Ming-Na Wen". Asia Pacific Arts. October 29, 2012.
      16. "First Look:Ming-Na Wen is Back at Mulan - This Time on Sofia the First". TV Guide. July 22, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
      17. Dinh, Christine (December 7, 2017). "Marvel to Launch New Animation Franchise 'Marvel Rising'". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
      18. Abell, Bailee (May 16, 2019). "Robert Downey Jr. and James Earl Jones highlight the list of Disney Legends to be honored at D23 Expo 2019". Inside the Magic. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
      19. Dela Paz, Maggie (May 17, 2019). "RDJ, Jon Favreau, James Earl Jones & More to be Honored as Disney Legends". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
      20. Channeling : With An Eye On. . . : Ming-Na Wen uses the power of persuasion to land on 'The Single Guy', Los Angeles Times, October 29, 1995.
      21. Acuna, Kirsten; Guerrasio, Jason (September 4, 2020). "The live-action 'Mulan' has an unexpected cameo you may overlook the first time around. Here's how it came together". Insider. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
      22. Baver, Kristin (December 16, 2020). "THE RETURN OF FENNEC SHAND: MING-NA WEN ON FINDING HER VOICE AS THE ELITE ASSASSIN IN THE MANDALORIAN". StarWars.com.
      23. "Yasuke Trailer Adds Mandalorian Star Ming-Na Wen and More to the Cast". CBR. April 26, 2021.
      24. "THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT, A NEW SERIES, COMING DECEMBER 2021 ON DISNEY+". StarWars.com. December 21, 2020.
      25. "The Mandalorian nabs four nominations at the Hollywood Critics Association Television Awards". fanthatracks.com. July 8, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
      26. "Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2022". walkoffame.com. June 17, 2021. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
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